The Blink of an Eye: A Memoir of Dying-and Learning How to Live Again

The Blink of an Eye: A Memoir of Dying-and Learning How to Live Again

by Rikke Schmidt Kjærgaard, Bill Bryson

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“A highly personal, deeply affecting account of what it is to be yanked from a happy, well-ordered life and thrust into a sudden, unimaginable, terrifying darkness. Rikke Schmidt Kjærgaard has done the impossible of putting into words an experience that would seem to be beyond expressing.”—from the foreword by Bill Bryson

It was New Year’s Day. Rikke Schmidt Kjærgaard, a young mother and scientist, was celebrating with family and friends when she was struck down with a sudden fever. Within hours, she’d suffered multiple organ failure and was clinically dead.

Then, brought back to the edge of life—trapped in a near-death coma—she was given a 5 percent chance of survival. She awoke to find herself completely paralyzed, with blinking as her sole means of communicating with the outside world.

The Blink of an Eye is Rikke’s gripping account of being locked inside her own body, and what it took to painstakingly relearn every basic life skill—from breathing and swallowing, speaking and walking, to truly living again. Much more than an account of recovery against all odds—this is, at its heart, a celebration of love, family, and every little thing that matters when life hangs in the balance.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781615195725
Publisher: The Experiment
Publication date: 05/14/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 50,294
File size: 678 KB

About the Author

Rikke Schmidt Kjærgaard is a scientist, mother of three, and cofounder of Graphicure, a start-up company developing software solutions that empower patients to better understand their disease and manage treatment. She is also cofounder and CEO of the Danish Science Club, a mentorship network for children and young adults. Prior to her illness, she was an associate professor at Aarhus University. She holds a PhD in science communication, with past positions as a postdoctoral fellow at MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit in Cambridge, UK, and at Harvard Medical School. In 2012, she was elected Member of The Young Academy under the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters.

Bill Bryson is the New York Times–bestselling author of several books.

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The Blink of an Eye: A Memoir of Dying-and Learning How to Live Again 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous 27 days ago
SallyH 17 days ago
An excellent view into what it's like to almost die and then slowly feel your way back into living, albeit a different kind of life--harder but richer. Rikke skips nothing. Almost in a day-by-day account, she talks about what it's like to be in pain, to be treated like a thing by medical professionals vs. being treated as a person with emotions and comfort, and the struggle to try to find the way forward and persevere. As a former nurse, a lot of her accounts felt familiar, but it certainly made me more aware of the finer details of being confined in a bed; unable to move, talk, or even breath without assistance. And yet she made it through and to this day is fighting back by empowering others and making lives better. This book is gutsy and authentic. Give a copy to anyone struggling to find hope while watching a loved one in medical turmoil, but also recommend it to any health professional you know.
CherryPie0420 3 months ago
In the blink of an eye everything can change. One moment your life is moving along, going through your normal routine, living your life. Then you blink. What once was is gone and you are plunged into an unimaginable nightmare that you can't wake up from, quickly becoming trapped inside your own body, the only movement that you can control is a blink. It sounds like a scene from a psychological thriller but this was realty for scientist Rikke Schmidt Kjaergaard on New Years day in 2013. The whole day Rikke had been feeling off but she chalked it up to the New Years Eve festivities from the night before but as the day wore on Rikke got worse and worse. Her doctor was called to the house later that evening and she was diagnosed with the flu but her symptoms went from bad to worse at an incredibly rapid rate. She couldn't get warm no matter how many blankets were piled on her, every bit of light pierced her eyes like needles, and her fever was increasing and then dropping at rapid rates. Rikke couldn't hold anything down and couldn't control anything coming out of her body. By morning, everything that was coming out of her body was thick and black. When she started to become paralyzed her husband and doctor knew this was a serious situation and she was rushed to the emergency room. If they would've waited any longer Rikke would not have survived. The Blink of an Eye is Rikke's point of view during the entire horrific ordeal that completely changed her life. When Rikke was 20 she was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE. She believed she had her disorder under control but all it took was one attack of bacterial meningitis to almost kill her. You can feel Rikke's scientific background come through the pages, as well as the anguish and heartbreak that she felt. There are parts that were hard for me to read and brought tears to my eyes. I cannot even begin to imagine what Rikke and her family had to endure. Though Rikke has a lot of battle scars, she lived to tell the tale which is a miracle in and of itself. I closed the book thankful for my life and felt empowered to face the medical issues I am currently facing. If Rikke can fight so can I! Painful, yet so powerful - The Blink of an Eye is a must read! *I received a complimentary copy of this book from The Experiment through NetGalley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. All opinions are my own.
BigReader7860 3 months ago
I loved this book. It wasn’t an easy read. The title says it all- one blink is all it takes to upset your life horribly and everyone attached to you! I am not usually a reader of memoirs but this book was so well written and the people and their reactions dead-on- it was wonderful. Thanks to NetGalley and The Experience for allowing me to read and review this book!